The organisers of a cycling event that covers much of the route to be used for the first stage of the 2014 Tour de France say that last week’s announcement has given them a huge boost.
Ilkley Cycle Club, who attracted 800 riders to the town last year for the revival of the White Rose Sportive, say, interest in their event is already soaring.
The event offers three rides of 110, 84 and 50 miles through the Yorkshire Dales.
Potential sponsors have been expressing their interest in backing the event on Sunday, July 7, and the club says it is already talking to Welcome to Yorkshire about the 2014 event which could form part of the celebrations around the arrival of the Tour de France in Yorkshire.
Club spokesman Jonathan Riley said: “We have the capacity for 1,000 riders and we expect the fact that the White Rose Classic routes overlap with the Tour route in places will make our event an early sell out.
“We’re also expecting massive media interest, and increased involvement from sponsors.”
Ilkley Cycling Club member and ex-Yorkshire divisional champion cyclist Ged Mill ward (48) still regularly competes successfully in open time trials and veteran road race competitions.
He raced for an amateur cycling team in Brittany, France over 20 years ago and learnt to speak what he calls 'cycling French' quite well in his time there.
Experiencing the spectacle of Le Tour coming to Ilkley in 2014 first hand is going to be “superb” he says “ I’m planning to cycle some of my favourite routes up the Dales with cycling mates in advance and get a great vantage point to see the world’s best cyclists race through Yorkshire.”
The organisers of the long-established Otley Cycle Races are already planning ahead.
They have set the date of their 2014 race for Wednesday, July 2, the day before the Tour-de France riders are intro- duced in Leeds.
Race director Giles Pidcock says that they have had expressions of interest from potential corporate sponsors since last week’s announce- ment.
He said: “The Tour de France is a massive event and already it is sparking huge interest.
“We had 14,000 people at last year’s race and expect that to grow.
“One of the big challenges for all of us is to use the Tour de France to create a lasting legacy for the cycling industry in Yorkshire.”